Deb Cook Lewis for 2018 ACB Board of Publications

Deb Cook Lewis
6519 20th Ave. NE
Seattle, WA 98115-6943
Cell: (206) 434-6480
1. Introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in serving as a member of the board of publications.
My name is Deb Cook Lewis. I am running for a second term on the ACB Board of Publications (BOP.) During my first term, I served as BOP secretary and was responsible for taking Minutes of all meetings. I also chaired a task group with representatives from the BOP and CCLVI who worked collaboratively to recommend Guidelines for all large print materials produced on behalf of ACB. I am Treasurer of the WA Council of the Blind and Treasurer of Guide Dog Users of WA State.
I have enjoyed serving on the BOP for the past two years. ACB’s many communication channels are constantly evolving, and I welcome the opportunity to play a part in ensuring that ACB’s communication is relevant, consistent, and expressive of the views of this organization.
2. Summarize any experience you have as a writer. How can you use this experience to strengthen the BOP’s oversight of ACB’s written and online publications?
Most of my writing experience comes from my 44 years of employment with the state of WA where I routinely was responsible for writing complex program policy and procedures, research findings, documentation of product accessibility features and other technical documents. This background has required me to be attentive to detail and to make sure that information is accurate, concise and timely. These are all important considerations when communicating a balanced, accurate and timely message to ACB’s diverse audiences.
3. If you could make changes to the ACB’s written and/or online communications, what would you change and why?
The Board of Publications is initiating a number of changes in the content and structure of the ACB Braille Forum and E-Forum that I think are positive. Social media and email lists are perhaps the best way to communicate content of immediate importance. Our magazines, on the other hand, should be where we print content that is long lasting, history making and important to the philosophy of the organization. I think this is important in communicating a consistent message regarding advocacy, inclusion and other important philosophies of the organization. ACB’s communication has evolved rapidly and is very exciting, and it’s now time to be thinking more strategically about how we use various tools for highest impact.
On a very practical level, I also believe we should provide more structure such as headings, imbedded links, etc. in our online documents. ACB’s new web site (launching soon) provides a vehicle for such a change. ACB’s recent adoption of large print guidelines also supports this concept. So I hope that the BOP and Communications group will be collaborating to ensure that document structure that supports presentation and readability for online content will be adopted.
Finally, the BOP is undertaking a significant rewrite of the BOP Editorial Policy which I think is extremely important. I believe the Constitutional mandate of the BOP should remain the same, but our role in carrying it out needs to change in light of the many communication vehicles now available to ACB. It is not easy for members to understand the purpose and role of the BOP from reading our Editorial Policy, and if we are to be relevant and useful to the organization, our mission and processes must be clear and relevant.
4. What role, if any, should the BOP play in the written or online publications of ACB state or special-interest affiliates?
I think the primary role for the BOP with respect to affiliate publications is to offer guidance, support and consultation. We recently changed the name of our convention workshop from Editor’s Workshop to writer’s Workshop as part of the message that we want to support a much wider and more diverse audience beyond newsletter editors.
As part of our support of affiliate newsletters, I believe we should also streamline and simplify the process of applying for the Liggett Award and should more actively encourage affiliates to apply for this award in recognition of their publication efforts.
Finally, I believe the BOP should survey affiliates in some way to learn what assistance is needed, and then collaborate with affiliates to meet identified needs.